World

HK democracy activist Joshua Wong jailed over protest

HONG KONG: One of Hong Kong's most prominent democracy activists, Joshua Wong, was jailed yesterday for 13½ months for his role in an unlawful anti-government rally in 2019, the toughest and most high-profile sentencing of an opposition figure this year.

Wong's sentence comes as critics say the Beijing-backed government is intensifying a crackdown on Hong Kong's opposition and wide-ranging freedoms guaranteed after the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, a charge the authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong reject.

Wong, 24, had pleaded guilty to organising and inciting an unlawful assembly near the city police headquarters during the height of the demonstrations in June last year. He faced a maximum of three years in jail.

TOUGHER

"I know the coming days will be tougher. We will hang in there," Wong shouted after the sentence was read out.

"It's not the end of the fight," he said later through his lawyer.

Wong's long-time colleagues Agnes Chow, 23, and Ivan Lam, 26, were jailed for a total of 10 and seven months, respectively, on charges linked to the same siege when thousands of pro-democracy protesters surrounded the police headquarters on June 21 to demand the government withdraw a now-shelved extradition Bill.

Chow, who cried on hearing her sentence, had pleaded guilty to incitement and participation in an unlawful protest, while Lam pleaded guilty to incitement. - REUTERS

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